Commencement 2014 - Press Release

News Release
For Immediate Release: April 30, 2014
Washington Adventist University Kicks Off Local
Graduation Season with May 4 Commencement
Washington Adventist University (WAU) kicks off the local graduation season on May 4, with a
commencement ceremony from 10 a.m. to noon at The Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro. A
total of 359 students will be receiving their diplomas at commencement. The degrees that will be
awarded include 106 master’s degrees, 244 bachelor’s degrees, and 11 associate’s degrees. Two
students will receive dual degrees.
The graduation procession will include students from 35 different nations, carrying the flags of
their countries. They include Barbados, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Columbia, the
Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras,
India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Peru, the
Philippines, Puerto Rico, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, the
United States, U.S. Virgin Islands, Vietnam, and Zambia.
The commencement speaker will be His Excellency the Most Honourable Sir Patrick Linton
Allen, ON, GCMG, CD, Governor-General of Jamaica, who will be presented with the
university’s prestigious Adrian T. Westney Award for Excellence in Community Service. The
award is named for former pastor, educator, and 1962 WAU graduate Adrian T. Westney (19272009), who demonstrated “unparalleled dedication, unmatched performance, and inspirational
Senior Class President Kaiya Kretschmar, who is scheduled to provide words of encouragement
to her fellow graduates, is a nursing program student who was recently “pinned” at the
university’s traditional “pinning” ceremony for the 53 students who are about to embark on
professional nursing careers.
The diverse graduating class includes Shawn Fordham, a federal worker who will be receiving
his master’s degree in public administration. He has been an assistant district manager for the
Social Security Administration in the Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia, Pa. area for the past
seven years; but previously worked for Philadelphia Mayor John F. Street, serving as his
campaign manager and senior advisor. Fordham also served on the Board of Directors of the
Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority.
Samr Binsaif will be awarded her master’s degree in psychology counseling, which she plans to
use as a counselor for women when she returns to her native Saudi Arabia this summer. Binsaif
traveled to the U.S. with her husband and children in 2005, learned English as a second language
at Columbia University in New York City, and earned her bachelor’s degree at Columbia
College in Columbia, Mo. Upon graduation, she was attracted to the Washington Adventist
University master’s program in psychology counseling because the one-year program and oneyear practical enabled her to complete her degree in a shorter time frame.
Also included in the graduating class is Timothy Hatfield, a lieutenant with the Prince George’s
County Police Department who will receive his bachelor’s degree in organizational management.
He plans to remain in public service, with a goal of possibly becoming a federal prosecutor, and
has already been accepted to the George Washington University Law School fall class.
The breakdown of the 106 master’s degrees awarded at this commencement is: 23 in counseling
psychology; 20 in health care administration; 17 in nursing education; 15 in business
administration; 12 in professional counseling psychology; nine in nursing and business
leadership; eight in public administration; and two in religion.
The 244 baccalaureate degrees that will be awarded include: 207 Bachelor of Science degrees;
36 Bachelor of Arts degrees and 1 Bachelor of Music degree. In addition, nine Associate of
Applied Science and two Associate of Science degrees will also be awarded.
Prior to the commencement ceremony, WAU will host two events at the Sligo Seventh-day
Adventist Church, located at 7700 Carroll Ave., Takoma Park, adjacent to campus. A
Consecration Service will be held on Friday, May 2 at 8 p.m.; and a Baccalaureate Service will
be held on Saturday, May 3 at 11:15 a.m.
The commencement ceremony can be viewed via live streaming video at For more information about Washington
Adventist University and its academic programs, go to
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Washington Adventist University is Montgomery County's only four-year private college. Part of the
Seventh-day Adventist system of higher education, Washington Adventist University has been educating
college students since 1904 on a 19-acre campus in suburban Takoma Park, close to the nation’s capital.
A total of 1,050 students of all faiths participate in the university’s eight graduate and 32 undergraduate
programs. The 2013 edition of U.S. News & World Report ranked Washington Adventist University
among the best regional colleges in the north.
Media Contacts:
Angie Crews, 301-891-4134, [email protected]
Donna Bigler, 240-286-1169, [email protected]